Somebody That I Used to Know


If you listen to the radio in the car, read Forbes magazine, watch Glee, or tweet, you’ve heard—or heard about—the hit duet featuring Gotye and Kimbra. And you probably know what you’re listening to, whereas up until about two weeks ago, I had no clue. No clue that I could nail down, anyway, because I existed in a pop culture void for the last four months, learning to live with a newborn baby. While in my void, the one predictable element was the opening melody of “Somebody That I Used to Know”, which popped up on the radio every time I got in the car.

After four months of telling myself to remember the lyrics and look up the artist, I finally did…and had “A Moment”.

You know what I’m talking about—the moment when you’re reading a book by a favorite author and your favorite character from a previous book walks across the page. Or the moment when you hear a name on television and realize you roomed with that person your freshman year of college. Or when you’re standing in the romance aisle of your favorite bookstore (oh, let’s be honest, when you’re browsing on your reader!) and you spy a gorgeous cover graced by large swirly font spelling out the name of that person you once chatted with on a writer’s forum. That moment when you’re connected by a shared past and, now, a shared present.

My Gotye moment hearkened back to an afternoon at my day job, almost a year ago, when one of my musician coworkers showed up at my desk, directed me to YouTube, and presented Gotye and Kimbra’s “Somebody that I Used to Know”. Like many things that happen in the day to day, my Gotye and Kimbra introduction fell off into the abyss of things that weren’t important enough to stay in the forefront of my mind.

After my Eureeka! moment, I went back to the same coworker to tell him about my discovery. He sent me back to YouTube for what he referred to as “the guitar gang bang,” otherwise known as Walk Off the Earth’s cover of the Gotye and Kimbra hit.

And I had another Moment.

In my day to day life, I associate with musicians and writers. I love going out Friday nights to see my coworkers’ bands play and I even more love being able to point random strangers at the stage while I say, “I know them” or “I used to work with her”. In bookish conversations, I get a huge thrill out of being able to suggest Eden Bradley or Kate Pearce or Gwen Hayes while saying, “Here are her books, she’s a great person”.

Call me a name dropper if you want, but I think it’s something more. I think it’s the connection—the shared past and present—that makes the moment. And I think it’s the kind of Moment that can make a person’s entire day.

During my pop culture void, Gotye was one of my accidental constants but Romance Divas was my deliberate constant. The community kept me coming back and kept me grounded in a shared present, and if you’re a writer reading this right now, I firmly believe the best thing you can do for yourself today is find yourself a community of writers to share with—not only so you can one day say “I used to know that author,” but so somebody else can say the same of you.

EMILY RYAN-DAVIS is a multi-published author of romance. She blogs infrequently at, tweets almost as infrequently as @emilyryandavis, and peeks in on her community of writers several times a day. (Alright, several times an hour.)